Dishes – they’re not just for kitchens

All photos in this post are by The Nester.

The Nester shares decor tips at The Nesting Place, where the theme is “It doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful.” She encourages women to feather their nest and make their home inviting with creativity on the cheap.

In our 13 years of marriage, we have moved 13 times. I admit that I secretly like the challenge and thrill of finding new ways to use our furnishings and display the things that I love. I typically keep items that will work in many rooms – small chairs, or sofa tables that can be used as desks in the kitchen or in a bedroom. I love decorative items that serve more than one purpose. We also rent our homes about half of the time, so my walls are usually white while I long for some color.

Dishes are one of my favorite items to use in every room of our home.

Plates and serving pieces are inexpensive, come in every color imaginable and are readily available. I’ll bet you have some dishes packed away right now that could be working hard prettying up your wall or keeping you organized. Dishes are for so much more than just eating.

• Hang a grouping of dishes in various hues of the same color to achieve a cohesive, classic look (see the top of this post).

• Hang a large platter (you know – the one that’s too big to fit in your sideboard) over a decorative shelf.

plate on a shelf

• Use a few spare dishes to fill in empty wall space, under or over framed art.

• Hang plates alongside metalwork or wood carvings.

• Use ceramic canisters and soup terrines to hold items in the bathroom, and to organize small items in the laundry room.

• Fill a shallow bowl with washcloths and pretty soaps in the guest bath.

• Use a large serving tray as an anchor for the centerpiece on your table.


Dishes – beautiful and lovely to eat on, but sadly underused. Where else do you use your dishes?

Tsh Oxenreider

Tsh is the founder of this blog and just finished traveling around the world with her husband and 3 kids. Her latest book is Notes From a Blue Bike, and believes a passport is one of the world's greatest textbooks.

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  1. Super ideas! I’ve become quite attracted to plates since I’ve seen so many of them in creative ways in blogland. I see them in a whole new light.

    suzann’s last blog post…LOUD and PROUD

  2. Oh Nester! Look at you over here hanging out with simplemom! She’s beyond awesome and so are you!

    It’s because of you that I’ve discovered a love for all things dishes. Right now I have a soup tureen on the wall in my bathroom. And I’m wearing grandma’s ironstone platter as a pendant on my necklace. Its gorgeous!


    Kimba @ A Soft Place to Land’s last blog post…More Free Goodies!

  3. Did I spell tureen/turrene/terrine wrong? Hate me. Sorry Simple Mom!

    The Nester’s last blog post…Fall Decorating Without the Fuss

  4. Good grief, Kimba, I have been sitting here with a blond moment for two whole minutes trying to imagine how you’d wear a platter as a pendant. Seriously, I thought it might have been possible if it was small enough.
    Nester….see what getting together with real bloggers in real life has done….a guest post on your blog crush’s site. Yea for you! How awesome of a post is this. I am a simple mom, really I am. 🙂

    Jen@Balancing Beauty and Bedlam’s last blog post…Fuh-net-ics- HELP!

  5. I’ve used dishes randomly around the house, but nothing like this. These pictures are inspirational….maybe I can use up my old dishes around the house to get new ones….

  6. I love to use dishes. I am most excited about the collection I have started for the wall above our bed. I only have one so far, but I will get there. I have gotten some great ideas from you Nester. Thanks.

    Stephanie’s last blog post…Sam and Emma

  7. Since I’ve had Nester as a sister, I forgot what dishes are really made for. Great post, great site, just great.

    And Simple Mom, loved meeting you at BlissDom ’08!

    emily @ chatting at the sky’s last blog post…bliss for the little sis

  8. Wow. Is that your (Pottery Barnish) house? You’re a talent, my dear.

    Angie (from over at

    Half Assed Kitchen’s last blog post…Chicken chili with navy beans

  9. Nice Nester, wrecking up Simplemom’s blog with misspellings. 🙂 That’s OK no one knows how to spell soup terrine anyways. I love dishes. When we redid our kitchen I put in glass doors where my dishes go so I could have instant decoration without even trying (my favorite kind of decorating, using what we have). I also have all creamy white dishes so I can hang them on the wall if I want or use them for any season or holiday. They go with everything.

    Thanks Nester. And thanks Simplemom for hosting such fun guest posts!


    melissa @ the inspired room’s last blog post…Easy No-Sew Embroidery & Monograms

  10. Awesome post!
    Gotta love the Nester & b/c of her I now have plates on my wall that I even spray painted black.
    Go me.

    Meghan’s last blog post…Halloween Cupcakes for NCW & a Tag!!!

  11. I have got to get on the decorating plate bandwagon! Thanks for the pics and ideas!

    Sarah Mae’s last blog post…I Was Just Introduced To The Best Blog!

  12. Oh my goodness I am doing cartwheels here at the computer because I have been trying to explain to my hubby how Im going to hang a grouping of plates over our bed in our bleak dull undecorated bedroom and give it some jazz. He totally is not getting it, but I howled at him to come look at your beautiful picture of plates on the wall and I think he has finally just given up arguing with me.We have been married 35 years this month and he still forgets that when I get a glorious idea in my head it’s hard to let it go…thanks for the picture…perfect timing!

    • Ok that is funny, because I did the same thing with my husband this moring. I started buying plates to hang over our bed last week and he just rolled his eyes at me. So when I saw the post this morning I called him over and showed him. His big concern…. that one of the plates will fall on his head while he is sleeping. And buy the way, congrants on 35 years!!! That is fantastic and I hope you have many more.

      Stephanie’s last blog post…Sam and Emma

  13. I love decorating with dishes! What we have done is use all different types and colors of dishes as a border on the top of our dining room wall. So, instead of a wall paper border, we have a plates border! We even have used it as a place to display memories of places we have traveled, buying a plate from those places.

  14. Mary Beth,


    That first photo is from over my bed!!

    The Nester’s last blog post…Fall Decorating Without the Fuss

    • my daughter in law says it must be the Lord’s will that I put plates over my bed..tee hee! I have sketched out your arrangement because I like it so much, but is there a way you could email me a picture of the plates with your bed in the picture for you know who? just wondering, Im pretty stuck on the info dirt road as far as things you can do with the old computer…it’s a miracle that I learned about blogs…well, depends on who you ask! 🙂 thanks again for that article! mb

  15. Too much fun — I love these pics!! I have a collection of antique brown transferware hanging on my dining room wall…plates holding objects under cloches…displayed on little easel stands on a shelf…and will soon be hanging some over my master bed! They are so pretty, and quite addictive! I also love the round shapes in a room with lots of squared off furniture! Great post 🙂

    Stacey @ The Blessed Nest’s last blog post…Roses Are Red

  16. Hi – Your blog is beautiful! I found you when I google my etsy shop (capebags) and saw you had put the red toile bag I made into Wishpot (which I’d also never heard of before!) Thanks! – Kim

  17. I’m going to hang that platter right now that won’t fit in my cabinet!

  18. I should do this with my wedding china!

    SarahHub @ Oakbriar Farm’s last blog post…Easy Halloween Decoration

  19. Nice collection. Thanks for sharing

  20. Simply gorgeous!

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